Access keys

Skip to content Accessibility Home News, events and publications Site map Search Privacy policy Help Contact us Terms of use

Appendix A9.3

Working time

1. This policy can be amended by agreement with the trade unions

1.1 Limit on weekly working hours

The Working Time regulations give you the right not to work for more than 48 hours per week, averaged over a reference period paragraph 2.3 below. The Regulations also set out statutory requirements in relation to rest periods and annual leave.

You may opt out of this limit in writing, giving yourself the option of working longer, if you wish to do so. Even if you do opt out, you will still not be required to work longer than an average of 48-hours per week - opting out merely provides you with the option to work longer. Working excessive hours can be dangerous to your health and safety and should be avoided. You should also be aware that in opting out of the 48 hour limit, you are required to keep records of the time you do work paragraph 2 below.

1.2 What counts as ‘working time’?

The Regulations limit the average number of hours that you are required to work. "working time" is defined in the Regulations as time when a worker is "working, at his employer's disposal and carrying out his activity or duties". For time to be "working time" all three elements must be satisfied. BBSRC “working time" has been agreed as including the following:

  • Overtime
  • Training - Any period during which you receive work related training as agreed by your employer including those to enable you to carry out duties as trade union or safety representatives
  • Call-out – If you are ‘On Call’, this is the time when you are actually called on to perform your duties, but not the rest of the time simply being ‘on-call’
  • Time spent travelling - Any time spent travelling to and from work assignments (excluding normal home-to-office travel but including journeys to and from a call-out). Please note that this is not necessarily the same as "Travelling Time" as defined at paragraph 7, section A2, Working For Us which has a more restricted meaning
  • Detached duty - Any period spent working away from the normal place of work including field work, conferences, seminars, work at other establishments and meetings at which you are representing your employer
  • Working at home - Where the time is properly recorded and performed on a basis agreed in accordance with BBSRC’s Home working Policy
  • Trade Union duties - Any period where you undertake official duties within an approved time frame as an elected Trade Union representative, or as an elected Trade Union Safety representative appendix A4.1
  • Supporting duties - Any period where you are working in support of approved management functions such as a first aider or fire marshal, including time roistered to be in the workplace
  • Working lunches - Only where you are actively engaged on official business
  • Other work engagements - where you are required to attend work related functions or seminars as part of your duties
  • Conditioned working hours - Any normal conditioned working hours not covered in the above bullet points
  • Outside activities - For the purpose of calculating average working hours, you must include any period where you work for another employer if such work is paid. You should also tell your line manager about any unpaid work for a decision on whether it needs to be recorded. See appendix A10.3 for further information

If you work in addition to contractual hours on an entirely voluntary basis then this is not classified as working time.

2. Recording working time

Except in certain situations, you are required to keep a record of your "working time", as defined above. In most cases this will be recorded on time recording sheets or automatically, e.g. through clocking-in, but you must ensure that all time is actually recorded.  Please speak to your local Head of HR for further guidance on local practices. If you are not on flexi-time you must also record working time (where it is in excess of your standard working day), on your own "record of hours worked" sheet.

2.1 Exceptions

Exceptions to the above include:

  • any time worked by certain very senior employees whose working time is unmeasured - e.g. Chief Executive, Directors and a very small number of band 1\2 IMPs on self-managed hours contracts who have complete control over their working hours
  • time worked in excess of 48 hours on an entirely voluntary basis by an employee on self-managed hours contracts if the employee has not opted out of the 48-hour limit; or any time worked by an employee on other self-managed hours contract if the employee has opted out of the 48-hour limit
  • time worked by an employee in addition to their contractual hours on an entirely voluntary basis

2.2 Time recording sheets must be kept for two years.

2.3 Calculation of average weekly working hours

By agreement through the JNCC, where it is necessary to calculate an employee's average weekly working hours, the number of hours worked is averaged over a 17-week reference period (each week to run from Monday - Sunday). Reference periods to run consecutively.

3. Night working

3.1 Definition of night work

We define ‘night work’ as work that includes at least three hours worked between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m.:

  • on most of the days worked
  • on a proportion of the days worked as is agreed in a collective or workforce agreement or
  • sufficiently often that you can be said to work such hours as a normal course, as opposed to on an infrequent or ad hoc basis

3.2 Calculation of average number of hours worked at night

The regulations provide that certain night workers must not work more than 8 hours per night, on average. By agreement through the JNCC, where it is necessary to calculate an employee's average nightly working hours, the number of hours worked is averaged over a 16-week reference period. Reference periods to run consecutively.

3.3 Entitlement to health checks

If you are requested to work at night, then before this work begins you will be offered a free health assessment, designed to establish whether your health may be put at risk by night work Periodically you will be offered a further health check/assessment which you are not obliged to undertake. However, as BBSRC wishes to ensure the health and welfare of its employees, we recommend that you take advantage of this free health check/assessment.

3.4 Where the pattern of work puts health or safety at risk

If your pattern of work is such as to raise the risk to your health and safety, in particular because the work is monotonous or the work-rate is predetermined, we will ensure that you are given adequate rest breaks (if necessary, including breaks which are in addition to any which the regulations may stipulate).

4. Shift work

If you work a shift pattern that does not comply with the regulations, establishments will endeavour to adapt the shift pattern so that it does comply. However, if this is not possible, establishments will seek a local collective agreement to exempt the employees concerned.

Return to top

Last update by nt 22/12/08
Amendment 61 - December 2008